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Pajaczkowska, C. (1985). On Love and Language. Free Associations, 1C(2):94-109.

(1985). Free Associations, 1C(2):94-109

On Love and Language

Claire Pajaczkowska

Histoires d'amour, by Julia Kristeva, Paris, Editions Denoël, 1983, Pp. 358.

In this review article I shall try to contextualize Kristeva's book for readers who may be curious and interested but, perhaps, uninformed about the nature and relevance of her work. This leads me to discuss the general problem of the place of psychoanalysis within higher education, which I approach in an autobiographical, as well as theoretical way. And from this context there emerges a more detailed examination of the theoretical part of Histoires d'amour in which I compare Kristeva's theory with the theories of Freud, Lacan and Klein. In conclusion I suggest ways in which the structuralist and the Kleinian schools of psychoanalysis might be mutually enriched by shared ideas.

The influence of Julia Kristeva's work in this country has probably been greatest in the study of literature. Most faculties of English in our universities now make some reference to the structuralist and post-structuralist theories of language in their undergraduate courses. Indeed the names of Saussure and Lacan have even reached the village of Ambridge in Radio Four's ‘The Archers’, thus definitively entering the realm of popular culture.

However, Kristeva's work is complex and challenging. In the study of literature, as in film studies, the importance of her work is that it enables a text to be analysed on a number of levels, being understood as the product of many separate, but interconnecting, levels of production.


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